Elon Musk says first human patient implanted with a Neuralink brain-chip is moving a ‘mouse around the screen just by thinking’ after making a ‘full recovery’

Elon Musk says first human patient implanted with a Neuralink brain-chip is moving a 'mouse around the screen just by thinking' after making a 'full recovery'

Elon Musk says first human patient implanted with a Neuralink brain-chip is moving a ‘mouse around the screen just by thinking’ after making a ‘full recovery’

The first human patient implanted with a brain chip from Neuralink appears to have fully recovered and is able to control a computer mouse using their thoughts, the startup’s founder, Elon Musk, said.

‘Progress is good and the patient seems to have made a full recovery, with neural effects that we are aware of,’ Musk said in a Spaces event on X (Twitter). 

‘Patient is able to move a mouse around the screen by just thinking.’ 

Musk said Neuralink is now trying to get as many mouse button clicks as possible from the patient.

Neuralink successfully implanted the ‘Telepathy’ chip on the patient last month, after receiving approval for human trial recruitment in September. 

Despite a controversial history of animal testing , the first human has had a chip implanted by Elon Musk's company Neuralink

The identity of the first Neuralink patient is still unclear, however; MailOnline has contacted the firm for more information. 

Neuralink’s tech uses a robot to surgically place a brain-computer interface implant in a region of the brain that controls the intention to move. 

The system consists of a computer chip attached to tiny flexible threads stitched into the brain by a ‘sewing-machine-like’ robot.

The robot removes a small chunk of the skull, connects the thread-like electrodes to certain areas of the brain, stitches up the hole and the only visible remains is a scar left behind from the incision.

Musk said that this procedure takes just 30 minutes, does not require general anaesthesia, and patients will be able to return home on the same day.

It’s unclear if all these promises apply to the first patient to receive the implant, although Musk said he or she is ‘recovering well’. 

However, following Musk’s announcement that the first human had received a Neuralink implant, experts raised serious concerns about safety.

Speaking to MailOnline, Dr Dean Burnett, honorary research associate at Cardiff University, called the start of human trials ‘disconcerting and alarming’. 

‘The speed at which [Musk] has gone from having no involvement in neurosurgical implants to making massive global statements is disconcerting and alarming,’ he said.

Neuralink's PRIME study is a trial for its wireless brain-computer interface to evaluate the safety of the implant (pictured) and surgical robot

The 'sewing robot' removes a small chunk of the skull, connects the thread-like electrodes to certain areas of the brain, stitches up the hole and the only visible remains is a scar left behind from the incision

‘The thing is he has this huge army of supporters that may volunteer for this kind of thing and I do think that’s quite dangerous when it comes to sticking things in people’s bodies.’ 

While Dr Burnett said that this first patient will very likely be safe, he adds that ‘the bigger risk is that people see this work well and then roll it out because not every procedure is going to be under the same spotlight.’ 

He added: ‘I wouldn’t do it [receive an implant] and if I could talk to the person that has volunteered for it I would try to talk them out of it.’ 

Neuralink’s initial goal is to let people control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts and communicate wirelessly with the world – like ‘replacing a piece of the skull with a smartwatch’, Musk has said. 

It would enable us to share our thoughts, fears, hopes and anxieties without demeaning ourselves with written or spoken language, the firm claims.

But it could also help paralysed people walk again and cure other neurological ailments. 

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) Musk said that the Telepathy device ‘enables control of your phone or computer, and through them almost any device just by thinking.’

He added: ‘Initial users will be those who have lost the use of their limbs.

‘Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or an auctioneer. That is the goal.’

Musk has also said that he’d be comfortable implanting a brain chip into one of his children, in response to a query.

‘I would say we’re at the point where at least, in my opinion, it would not be dangerous,’ he said in December 2022. 

Having gained FDA approval, Musk announced that a device called 'Telepathy' had been implanted and that the unnamed patient was recovering well

Implanting ‘Telepathy’ in a human is part of Neuralink’s PRIME study, a trial to evaluate the safety of the implant and the surgical robot that does the procedure. 

Musk has grand ambitions for Neuralink, saying it would facilitate speedy surgical insertions of its chip devices to treat conditions like obesity, autism, depression, and schizophrenia.

However, Neuralink, which was valued at about $5 billion last year, has faced repeated calls for scrutiny regarding its safety protocols and animal testing.  

It has spent the past few years testing the implant on animals, which has given mixed results.

In a 2020 presentation, Musk unveiled the Neuralink chip to the public for the very first time, with a demonstration on a pig named Gertrude.

Gertrude’s brain signals were visualised in real-time while she snuffled around her pen, that were being picked up by her implant. 

Another pig involved in the demonstration had once had an implant but then had it removed and was living a ‘healthy life’. 

The following year, Musk did another demonstration, which involved a macaque monkey with a brain chip that played a computer game by thinking alone.

However, in February 2022, Neuralink confirmed that monkeys had died during its tests, although denied any animal abuse.

The latter was in response to claims made by a non-profit the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in a complaint with the US Department of Agriculture.

Concerns raised by PCRM in the complaint included an example of a monkey missing fingers and toes that may have been lost to ‘self mutilation’.

Another case is of a monkey with holes drilled in its skull to have electrodes implanted into the brain, and a third of one suffering from a brain haemorrhage.

The majority of the monkeys had to be euthanised, or died as a result of procedures, according to the complaint.

Jeremy Beckham, from PCRM, told the New York Post that ‘pretty much every single monkey that had had implants put in their head suffered from pretty debilitating health effects’.

On top of claims of animal cruelty, experts warn that there could be privacy issues with brain implants.

Dr. Susan Schneider, the founding director of the new Center for the Future Mind, told the Daily Mail in April 2021: ‘If the widespread use becomes hooking us to the cloud, not as therapies, and merge humans with AI the economic model will be to sell our data.

‘Our innermost thoughts would be sold to the highest bidder. Also, do we need a subscription that we pay for? What if for powers get ahold of our thoughts?’

Neuralink has previously admitted that monkeys had died during its tests , although denied any animal abuse

Concerns raised by PCRM in its complaint included an example of a monkey missing fingers and toes that may have been lost to 'self mutilation' . Pictured: Note from staff at the University of California, Davis who were involved in monkey trials with Neuralink

A lawsuit filed against Neuralink alleges that animals 'suffered infections from the implanted electrodes placed in their brains' and an 'unapproved substance' known as BioGlue 'killed monkeys by destroying portions of their brains'

While this is the first human trial of Neuralink’s technology, it is far from the first time that computer brain interface devices have been implanted in humans. 

Since 2004, the BrainGate interface system developed by Brown University has been tested in human subjects with promising results.

A review of patients’ health published in 2021 found that there were no serious health consequences of the implant and none needed to be removed for health reasons.  

Andrew Jackson, professor of neural interfaces at Newcastle University, told MailOnline that the Neuralink device might even be safer in some ways than the BrainGate system.

‘One of the biggest risks of the existing technology is that there’s a “percutaneous” connection where wires from the implant come through the skin,’ he explained.

‘That’s a potential route for infection so one of the advantages of Neuralink is that it is wireless.’ 

Source: daily mail

New chip opens door to AI computing at light speed

Elon Musk says first human patient implanted with a Neuralink brain-chip is moving a ‘mouse around the screen just by thinking’ after making a ‘full recovery’/Elon Musk says first human patient implanted with a Neuralink brain-chip is moving a ‘mouse around the screen just by thinking’ after making a ‘full recovery’/Elon Musk says first human patient implanted with a Neuralink brain-chip is moving a ‘mouse around the screen just by thinking’ after making a ‘full recovery’

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Çok Okunan Yazılar